Saturday, April 20, 2013

When you have had breast cancer, and it has been treated, a new persistent pain in your upper body is problematic. A bruise, a torn muscle, or the unmentionable M (for metastase)? So I woke up last Thursday planning my life before the pending oblivion. I would get that damned memoir done, and write the two sequels, and a new one on a different perspective. I would bundle up all my poetry and save it to a USB stick, and I would throw away a lot of old paper. Even though my father's papers have proved invaluable for me, I think I can't burden my own kids with mine. And then I would have a massive garage sale, fly to Zambia one more time, give the money to Edith for her campaign, and say goodbye.

That was the early morning plan, before I got a doctor's opinion. A friend who is a doctor told me to see my own GP as soon as possible. 

I am not afraid of death, but I am nervous about dying.

And it certainly gives me a different way of looking at the clutter around me: photo albums galore, with journalling; collections of stones, shells, bakelite, dolls, African artefacts (some useful, like baskets); shelves full of books (so full, there are new books lying on top of the older vertical ones).

There is so much stuff in the world already, why do I make more of it? There's all my drawings, the supplies for creative album-making, materials for ideas and projects as yet unborn ... Will I be (is anybody, really) remembered for my stuff, for my output, my work, my playful way with words? Or will people talk about my qualities, my contribution, the difference I did or didn't make?


  1. Do it for you! Then your heirs and executors can decide what becomes of it later. You could leave some stuff to the State Library or the Macquarie, or wherever it is that writers get their papers stored. I think it could have value and interest for future generations. But I think about my stuff the way you do about yours!

    One tip: you don't have to keep physically what you can photograph or scan. Not only poetry can go on a USB stick ... or into a Cloud.

  2. I dont see any sequel to this post. But presumably you don't have any more breast cancer and no news is good news?